Good morning. Another beautiful day here in the Niles Illinois area. I plan on a good work day...God willing! Today marks the 5 year Anniversary of my mother's death. A sad day as I sit and look at her Box on my fireplace. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. Sad to know how she got here and yet happy that she is with me and that I was able to paint her a final resting place. So, if you pardon this personal tribute...today's blog is a tribute to her.
My mother, a strong, independent, outspoken woman came from a modest upbringing. She was blessed with wonderful parents and a nice home. Was treated to private schools...both grammar and high schools. She learned the art of crocheting and needlework. She was a pretty girl nicknamed BABE. More than likely because of her being the youngest in family. They all seemed to have nick names back then...I am not even sure why...but they did.
The one thing that I can say, to my chagrin, was that my mother was a hard worker..why chagrin? Well, in a young girls eyes...that hard working kept her away from home a great deal of the time. She married her dream and then that dream turned into a nightmare. Her marriage was in ruins and she took me and went to live with her parents. She went to work to support herself and me. Looking back now...she must have been riddled in guilt. She worked hard...very hard to make sure I would be lacking nothing...except that what I really wanted was a mom who was home! But now I am so grateful for all her sacrifices. It is quite funny how we never realize what is behind the scenes growing up.
If you remember Bea Arthur in Maude...that was my mom! In fact...she even had the salt and pepper hair like her. The only difference on that front was that my mom was short..about 5'4"....and a bit round in her older years.
She won many awards...some I never even knew about. It was after she was gone and I received some books of hers that I discovered notes of achievements and awards. Many times, she worked 2 jobs at a time. She never had an easy job either...she was always on her feet, running lifting carrying, and she always worked her way up the ladder, yet never minded doing the hard dirty work as well. She thought highly of her co workers and those that worked for her. As I look back, I must say...she was a workaholic. Hmmm...wonder where I got that from?
My mother was one determined woman. She insisted on my not taking the domestic classes in school...I HAD no choices...I was to learn business!! That was that. It took many years for me to understand why. She was making sure that I had something solid to fall back on should I need it. At the time, I was not so happy...but am grateful today for the business sense that she gave me by those choices.
She married a second time and moved more than 2,000 miles away. She worked almost up to her dying day. I wish I could say that the man she choose was a good one...but I cannot! He was nothing more that a gigolo in my eyes. He stayed home, while she worked. Bought things for pleasure and she worked. He possessed her. Mentally and emotionally abused her. He controlled her every move. It took a long time for me to realize that reasons for her actions. He was the reason. He was a hoarder. He was a monster. Another nightmare and she couldn't find a way to wake up. Her closing her eyes in the end was the peaceful end to a hard life.
In the end...It took 4 years and his death before I received her ashes. He never even had the decency to have an urn for her. She arrived in a plastic bag. I later found out that he even went cremation shopping! Imagine...after all those years of working....buying toys for him...she came in a baggie. But that is not where she ended up. I painted her a memorial box and gave her a place of honor. FINALLY! She is home, safe, sound and peaceful. I wish she would have felt like she could have told me what was going on...but pride kept her from it. She never let on that she wasn't in control...she never allowed me to see the real woman that she was until those days after she was gone.
Joan Rose was a dignified, hard working woman. She was a loving daughter and mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was a woman who had heart and soul. And she was a woman who was afraid....oh how I wish I could have removed that fear for her! She had a fear of failure!
Well, MOM...you didn't fail. You inspired, gave strength and gave hope. You gave me a wonderful life & a future. I am sorry that you couldn't be here and hear me when I perform, or see the paintings that I paint, but I know that you are here in spirit! I just wanted to say..."I LOVE YOU MOM".